Steve is fifteen and Bucky sixteen when Prohibition is repealed. There are celebrations in the street, everyone toasting one another with bottles of beer and wine. It’s less of a big deal in the Addams house, where the wine cellar is seemingly endless and nobody really drinks beer. Steve and Bucky have both had it, but Steve didn’t really like it and Bucky could take it or leave it, so he mostly leaves it.
Bucky’s on his second steady girl already; Jeannie Ross is a nice girl from the other ninth grade class, and she might last awhile. She’s not afraid to come to the Addams house, she’s polite to Lurch, and she only shrieked a little bit when she first saw Thing.
Steve, on the other hand, is pretty sure there will be no steady girls for him. He hasn’t worked up the courage to tell anyone yet, but he’s pretty sure that if there’s a steady anything for him, it’ll be a steady guy. He doesn’t think anyone will care, but… still. He’s nervous. Even if the family doesn’t care, it’s not like it’s legal.
He’s daring, is Steve, and he’s hale and fairly healthy and he can run pretty fast when the cops show up, so he’s… explored. A bit. He’s been to a club he heard about down on Henry Street near the infamous St. George Hotel. He’s been past the hotel, sharing nods and friendly greetings with some of the fairies and queens who live in the building as he walked past.
He wants to tell his family. He’s sure they would be fine with it. It’s only that he’s… well. He’s not afraid. He’s just.
So he waits, and he dithers, and he visits the club down on Henry Street when Bucky’s out with Jeannie Ross and he walks past the St. George Hotel and he screws up his courage and finally, finally, a few days before his birthday, he squares his shoulders and he lifts his chin and he marches out to the conservatory. “Auntie Morticia,” he says, “I need to talk to you.”
“Of course, darling,” Auntie Morticia says. She finishes misting the nightshade, then puts the mister away and comes to sit beside Steve on the bench nearby. “What’s on your mind?”
“I… I need to tell you something.” Steve takes a deep breath and then lets it out slowly. “I… you know how Bucky’s got a girl and he keeps after me to get a girl too?”
Morticia nods. “I do.”
“Well, I… I don’t think I want to go out with a girl.”
Morticia nods without so much as blinking. “Your great-uncle Nero didn’t want to go out with girls, either,” she replies. “That’s how you come to have a great-uncle Williams.”
Steve blinks. “Really?”
“Really.” She smiles, pulling him into a warm, gentle hug. “We Addamses don’t mind about such things. We are Addamses, after all. We have a reputation as Addamses to uphold.” She pulls back and gives him a conspiratorial grin and a wink.
Steve’s shoulders sag in relief. “You really don’t mind.”
“Of course not, darling,” she says, patting his cheek. “Now, tell me, is there someone special you have your eye on?”
Steve laughs. “No,” he admits. “But I’ve been down to the Crown on Henry Street. There’s some nice people who go there.”
“I’m not familiar with their reputation,” Morticia admits. “Is it a classy place, Steven, or is it a nasty little dive?”
Steve laughs. “Somewhere in the middle,” he admits. “But the really classy places are all in Manhattan, and they won’t let in a kid like me.”
“Ah, well,” Morticia replies. “Time enough for that. Only...” She pauses, and then she looks worried. “Do be careful, won’t you?”
“I will,” Steve assures her. “I promise.”
Knowing that the rest of the family won’t have a problem with it, Steve’s only other worry is telling Bucky. Because Bucky… well. If Bucky has a problem with it…
“Steve,” Bucky says that night when Steve has finally screwed up his courage (again) and sat down on Bucky’s bed to tell him, “I know.”
Steve blinks. “You know? How do you know?”
“I followed you one night to see where you were going,” Bucky says with absolutely no shame. "I knew you didn’t have a girl so I wanted to know what you were up to, because you didn’t tell me, and you tell me everything, so this must have been a big deal.”
Steve’s not sure how to take that, so he decides to think about that part of it later. “So you… you don’t… mind?”
Bucky shrugs. “I don’t care. I just don’t want you to be stupid and get your head busted in by the coppers. If there’s a raid, you promise me you’ll run and not fight. Okay?” He reaches out and grips Steve’s shoulder, as serious as Steve has ever seen Bucky be. “I mean it, Steve. Don’t be stupid. They crack your head open, you might end up a vegetable for the rest of your life. I couldn’t stand it if something happened to you. You promise me.”
“Yeah, okay,” Steve replies. “I promise. For now.”
Bucky laughs. “Well, I guess if that’s the best I can hope for, I better take it. Deal.” Then he grabs Steve and pulls him into a rough hug. “Don’t keep stuff like that from me any more, okay?”
Steve hugs him back just as roughly. “Okay.”